Health Experts Predict Human West Nile Cases in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/10/07

Health Experts Predict Human West Nile Cases in Lubbock

Some mosquitoes already have it and now the Lubbock Health Department says humans could be the next West Nile victims. 

NewsChannel 11 was the first to alert you that mosquitoes in south Lubbock tested positive for the virus.  We've also learned that city crews are working to keep the virus from spreading.

"We can expect some West Nile Virus cases, probably occurring in the next 30 to 60 days," Lubbock Health Department Health Director Tommy Camden said.

"Mosquito season is upon us right now; we're just trying to inform the public that West Nile is back on the South Plains, again," Camden continued. 

Right now Lubbock Vector Control is checking standing water across the county for mosquito larva, and if it's there, they'll destroy it.

"It's easier to kill them while they're in the water because you know where they are. Once they start flying off it's hard to find them," Lubbock Vector Control Coordinator Rick West said. 

"Once we feel like we have to, we start spraying the areas at night to try to kill the adult mosquitoes," West continued. 

West tells NewsChannel 11 mosquitoes that feed on birds tend to spread the virus.

"Birds in this area have had West Nile in them since 2002, and the mosquitoes that we worry about are those that feed on birds, pick up west Nile, and keep that cycle going in the bird population, and then humans, large animals then become incidental hosts," West said. 

There are several ways to keep mosquitoes off, but repellents with DEET are the number one choice for among health experts.

"The chances of contracting a mosquito born disease is now entering into that critical stage," Camden said. 

With the weekend coming, more people may want to use their back yards, so we asked vector control if they could recommend something to give your home extra protection.

They recommend Malathyon and a product call Permethrin. Vector control uses Permethrin themselves, but what you'd buy over the counter is a little different.

All you have to do is pick up a package at the store, follow the mixing instructions, put it in a sprayer, and hit your yard about two to three hours before your get together.  It should provide extra protection to keep mosquitoes and possibly West Nile from crashing your party.

If you have a mosquito problem in your neighborhood, call the Mosquito Hotline.  That number is 775-3110.

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